Gunung Semeru @ 3,676m.a.s.l (The highest volcanic mountain in Java Island, Indonesia)

1Sunrise Clouds on the Mahameru

By Lily Ho, Malaysia

Mt. Semeru is the second volcanic mountain summited after we climbed Mt. Rinjani last year on the same day. We did not have good experience on Mt. Rinjani as we were only able to reach the summit approximately an hour after the sunrise. In total, it was 5 hours from the base camp to the summit.

Therefore, I decided to choose a volcanic mountain which is lower than Mt. Rinjani, thinking that it would be an easier one. With this, we invited members, bought tickets, and planned accordingly. Only when this process was complete was when I realised that Mt. Semeru is actually more technically demanding if compared with Mt. Rinjani. [Read more…]

Hiking and Exploring In (and Around) Gunung Arong, Mersing – Here’s 6 Reasons Why You Should Go!

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Located in Mersing, the Johor state of Malaysia, the hike up Gunung Arong (275m) is simple by definition and offers intricate views and experiences for those who make the trek. Taking around an hour to get to the top, hikers will have plenty of time to take in the scene and enjoy the journey which is really what hiking is all about. If this isn’t enough to convince you to tie on the hiking boots and get started, here are 6 more reasons why you must explore Gunung Arong and its surrounding places. [Read more…]

6 Reasons Why We Left Our Hearts in Myanmar (After Travelling 100km on Foot)

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We spent 3 days/2 nights trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake, which was 65km in total. Then we spent another 2 days/1 night in Hsipaw for another 35km. Seeing 100km as the total distance covered is something special for me, but that’s not the reason why we left our hearts in Myanmar.

There’s something special about being able to take what you’re given and turn it into something magical. So often we take for granted all of the blessings we have been given in daily life. We like the idea of visiting a mountain village or to lend a helping hand there, but could we thrive there if that was our home? In Myanmar, they call what we would see as a disadvantage being part of the very core of what makes them human.

Here are 6 other reasons why I and the team feel like we’ve left part of ourselves behind after our recent visit. [Read more…]

12 Things We Love About Trekking in Myanmar – Part Two: Hsipaw

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continued from Part 1: Kalaw to Inle Lake Trek

Hsipaw is one of the most popular trekking routes in beautiful Myanmar. When you see it, you begin to understand why so many have called it one of the best treks available in the world today.

What makes Hsipaw so interesting is the fact that the region is completely self-sustaining. It’s one of the few accessible locations for trekkers to see authentic rural Burmese  village life. You won’t find ancient ruins or temples or other relics of antiquity here. The roads are mostly unpaved. Ox carts outnumber vehicles. The local market features truly local products.

[Read more…]

12 Things We Love About Trekking in Myanmar – Part One: Kalaw to Inle Lake Trek

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Myanmar.

Its beauty has been held back from the world for far too long. This landscapes here really are one of the few hidden gems left today. It’s only been recently opened to the public because of several years of internal strife.

Now it’s a nation that offers numerous parks to explore, mountains to summit, and is the home to bustling markets that leave lingering memories.

Myanmar. It’s an experience that will literally take your breath away. [Read more…]

G1 Gunung Tahan via Merapoh 4D3N (28/4-1/5/2016)

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Wide View from the Peak of Gunung Tahan

Story by Lily Ho, Puchong

On a usual night, a hiking friend paid a visit to our home and talked about his sad love story and some of the incidents happened in Gunung Tahan. But then, all of a sudden, he encouraged us to do Gunung Tahan, which is way beyond our dreams. Since childhood, I’ve heard a lot of hikers talk about Taman Negara, wild lives, and Gunung Tahan, which I’ve never have the fascination to do. One needs a very good strength/stamina to carry a big backpack by herself, which is something that is beyond me.

Yet with the encouragement given, we started to prepare the trip from planning the date, contacting the forestry office, inviting friends around, discussing gear to be brought (ladies are only carrying approximately 6-8kg, while gentlemen carry all the heavy stuff from tents, sheets, and rations) at approximately 18kg.

In a nutshell, this was a lady VIP trip. [Read more…]

Climbing G3 Gunung Yong Belar 2,181 m.a.s.l

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By Lily Ho

Since I started the hiking habit in Malaysia in 2014, I have been taught that there are 12 mountains at/above 7,000 feet in Malaysia, termed as G12. There are also 7 mountains at/above 7,000 feet in Peninsular Malaysia, termed as G7, which are worth to be explored too. It sounds like a wonderful challenge, but I have never had the wishful thinking to attempt a climb of each mountain. This is despite organising a climb to the seventh highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia, G7 Gunung Ulu Sepat, two months ago.

G7 Gunung Ulu Sepat was climbed by 23 members (14 were from Singapore) was a wonderful project to me. According to our guide, G7 is the easiest climb compared to other six mountains. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any challenges that would need to be overcome on this trip. [Read more…]

The “Golden Grains” at Bukit Tabur – Trekking the Far East and Extreme Trail

 

TREKKINGThere is a Malaysian folktale about a young paddy farmer called Kassan. When the paddy was ripe, he would go to his hut to keep a look-out for pests so that the crops would be safe. One day Kasan saw his paddy being eaten by sparrows. He drove them away, but they kept on returning. He became worried and tried to think of new ways to get rid of them.

On his way home, Kassan met an old woman carrying a heavy sack of rice on her back and offered to help her. “You are a kind-hearted man,” she said. “Youth nowadays can only think of themselves.” 

As they walked on, the old woman noticed that something was weighing on Kassan’s mind. After much probing, Kassan shared with her about his problem at the paddy field and his plan to kill the sparrows. [Read more…]

Hiking Sun Nhok Wua, Roof of Kanchanaburi – A Pictorial Journey

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When people think of trekking in Thailand they have the northern part of the country in mind. But so many people overlook Kanchanaburi in Western Thailand close to the border with Burma. With peaks like Sun Nhok Wua and the famous Khao Laem National park, this part of Thailand is an excellent place to go trekking and escape the crowds.

Sun Nhok Wua is located in the heart of Khao Laem National Park which is best known for the Kroeng Krawia waterfall. Most people just come here for the cascades but there’s a lot more once you get off the beaten track. The area is renowned for its spectacular sunsets too, and one of the best places to base yourself to see the lakeside at sundown is Pom Pee. There are some great campsites here and most are within easy reach of those sunset views. For most people the journey begins in Bangkok with a long drive to Kanchanaburi and on to Pom Pee. [Read more…]

Get Over To the Other Side of the Road – Reflections from Penang

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When asked about the places to visit on Pulau Penang, Ms Rani, the lady who was manning the hotel check-in on my day of arrival, started to rattle on about the list of places which I had researched and jotted down in my journal before my arrival. Working as a service staff for the past 7 years at the seafront hotel situated conveniently at Gurney Drive, she must be no stranger to questions about places of interests from curious visitors.

“Whatever you do,” she said, pointing out to the vast blue sea opposite the hotel, “get to the other side of the road.” The hotel was separated from the water by a tarmac road no wider than 5 metres. [Read more…]